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Geek Stuff

Filler – Best “Time Waster Game of 2010”

Every now and again someone sends along a “time waster” (simple addictive mind numbing game) that can quickly make a half hour of your life melt away. The coolest part of these types of games is really their simplicity in design but yet so many of them are challenging as hell. Most require quick thinking, quick reactions and a fair level of focus. The results are out for 2010 and the big winner is Filler. The first couple levels are easy but it quickly gets challenging. Fill up 2/3’s of the screen and avoid the bouncing balls. Come on, give it a try. Just make sure your schedule is clear for the next half hour!

If you are looking for something a bit more challenging that requires some real logic as the levels get harder, try Fantastic Contraption! This was my favourite time waster from 2009. I finished all the levels with some help from my kids!

Money Management by Mint.com

I rarely ever read Time Magazine but one thing I stumbled upon that I did find interesting this year was their Top 50 Websites of 2010. I surfed through and found a few good ones. Like www.ted.com which is a huge database of guest speakers with amazing stories, theories, ideas and tonnes of other thought-provoking topics. It’s a great site to stop by when you feel the need to be inspired. As a real sports stat junkie, I also liked www.sports-reference.com. It has everything you ever wanted to know about your favourite Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey and Olympic stars and teams.

The one that really caught my eye and that I have been using ever since is www.mint.com. On their website they describe themselves as, “The best free way to manage your money” and from what I have seen over the short 3 months that I have been using it they are absolutely right. I have tried to use other offerings from Quicken and Microsoft Money in the past but the novelty always wore off because it was just too much work and my bank didn’t communicate with it well.  I am not going to go into detail about all of it’s great, super easy to navigate, functions but what I will share is a quick story about something that just happened.

I got an email from Mint a few minutes ago saying that I had “Unusual spending on Food & Groceries”. It knows this because I have a couple of months of data for it to refer to and because I have set a budget for Groceries that it monitors as the month goes on. I went to the computer and pulled up my account. When I clicked on “Food & Groceries” it showed me all the recent transactions and one of them stood out to me. There was a large transaction at Costco yesterday that I had no recollection of. (I have taught mint to recognize Costco as “groceries” unless I tell it otherwise) It also detailed it so that I knew it was a purchase made at Costco online with my American Express card. I grabbed the phone and was about to call American Express but wanted to confirm with the wife. I asked her about it while she was half asleep and she told me that she did a purchase for her work and we were being reimbursed. Whew! That was a close one.  Now this was just a false alarm but thanks to mint.com’s notifications I was able to do a quick investigation.

If you are not currently using something to manage your money, I highly recommend giving it a try! Watch the video below to learn more.


Social Media 101

As a long time user of Facebook and Twitter I was quite excited today to meet with a company that specializes in social media and how it can impact your business. I thought I was already pretty well versed on the big two but, kind of like my brain, I quickly learned I was only using a small percentage of its potential. We spent time on how to build your facebook business page to appeal to a variety of people. We discussed the many add-on widgets available to create areas to share even more information such as foursquare, twitter feeds and blogs within the tabs of your profile. They recommended that we be active on our facebook page a minimum of 3 times a day. Whether you are uploading some new pictures, changing your status or promoting an upcoming event they insist that inactivity leads to lost followers just as much as excessive activity does. They also mentioned that the prime time for a business to reach their audience is in the morning and in the late afternoon. I think that may be a bit extreme but I plan to try and keep up with their recommendation.

We then moved on to twitter and the speaker keyed in on ways to increase your RTs (Retweets) and your @mentions to help build followers that are the people you wish to target.  They introduced us to http://search.twitter.com/ which allowed us to search our area using a hashtag like #vancouver and the word “photographer” and it will pull up all the tweets that include the word “photographer” and a #vancouver hashtag. Now if you were a photographer looking to network or find people that are looking for one you could go through and follow the people sending out the tweets in the hopes to make a connection. Another useful site they showed us was http://friendorfollow.com/ which allows you to see all the people that you follow but don’t follow you as well as people that follow you that you are not following. Now unless you are a top notch celebrity there is no good reason not follow the people following you provided they are a real person. While we were reviewing these topics he tweeted out that he was “talking social media with the folks @mywork”  and within two minutes he had a couple replies which had @mentions of us. One of which included some nice praise of our company from an industry professional (he has over 800 followers in our market). I promptly Retweeted it with a thank you and with in the next hour I had 11 more followers. Pretty cool watching it happen. It is indeed a powerful tool!

Finally they showed us some of there blogs and explained how the use of blogs incorporated with your websites help move you up the rankings on Google based on content of your blogs and the frequency of which they are posted.This then got me to thinking. Yes I will do it at work soon once the site is set up for it but in the meantime I should get my butt in gear and start blogging myself. Welcome to http://jimmyslims.com. As a novice blogger, all comments are appreciated!